This Brutal 5-Minute Dumbbell Ladder Workout Gets Harder as You Go

This Brutal 5-Minute Dumbbell Ladder Workout Gets Harder as You Go

preview for Brutal 5-Minute Full-Body  Dumbbell Ascending Ladder | Men’s Health Muscle

THIS WORKOUT MIGHT not look super tough at the outset, but this smart series is designed to get progressively tougher as you pump through round after round. If you’re running low on time and don’t have access to a whole lot of gear, this is exactly the type of routine for you.

The five-minute challenge, designed by trainer Mickey Brueckner, founder of Annex Sports Performance, is tailor-made for all-out effort. That doesn’t mean it’s just a random collection of exercises—the routine is built with purpose. Brueckner says that you’ll ramp up your heart rate quickly with the first two movements, then be forced to maintain core stability for the remainder of the series. That will be the key to success here. If you’re not focused on perfect form and maintaining core integrity, you’ll struggle to get much out of the workout.

All you need to take on the routine is a pair of medium weight dumbbells. Don’t worry if you’re not working with the heaviest option in your gym—you’ll quickly realize that each round will be much more taxing than the last. That because of the workout’s ascending ladder structure. Even though you’re performing only five exercises, you’ll graduate to more volume with each round. All those reps pile up, so fitting in more than five rounds in the five minutes will be a big challenge.

The 5-Minute Ascending Dumbbell Ladder

Set a timer for five minutes. Start by performing each exercise for 2 reps. For the next round, add another 2 reps so you perform each exercise for 4 reps. Continue adding 2 additional reps per round until you hit time, aiming to finish at least 10 reps for each movement.

Romanian Deadlift

a person lifting weights

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How to Do It:

  • Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, holding the dumbbells close to your sides. Squeeze your shoulder blades, abs, and glutes.
  • Push your butt back, then bend at the waist to lower your torso. Your legs should be straight, but don’t lock out your knees. Keep the dumbbells close to your body.
  • Pause at the bottom of your mobility, then stand back up, slightly quicker than the lowering phase.

Dumbbell Clean

a woman taking a selfie in a gym

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How to Do It:

  • Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, holding the dumbbells close to your sides. Squeeze your shoulder blades, abs, and glutes.
  • Push your butt back and bend at the knees and waist slightly, then shoot your hips forward to drive the weights up to your shoulders. Your feet should come slightly off the floor.
  • Try to avoid using your arms to raise the weights; your hip drive should generate the power.

Dumbbell Rack Squat

a person sitting on a bench taking a picture of himself in a mirror

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How to Do It

  • Stand with your feet just wider than shoulder-width apart with your toes facing slightly out. Hold the dumbbells in the rack position at chest height.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades to create mid-back tension and brace your core to keep the load from throwing you off balance.
  • Push your butt back, then bend your knees to descend down into the squat. Lower down to a depth just below parallel or to what’s comfortable give your mobility.
  • Push off the floor and squeeze your glutes to stand back up.

Deficit Pushup

a person lying on the floor

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How to Do It:

  • Start in a high plank position, holding the dumbbells in your hands with a neutral grip (palms facing each other). Squeeze your abs and glutes to create tension.
  • Bend your elbows to lower your chest down, keeping your elbows at about a 45 degree angle relative to torso. Descend further than you would for a standard pushup, using the extra height provided by the dumbbells.
  • Press up from the bottom position up to full elbow extension (lockout).

Renegade Row

a person lifting weights

Men’s Health

How to Do It:

  • Start in a high plank position, holding the dumbbells in your hands with a neutral grip (palms facing each other). Squeeze your abs and glutes to create tension.
  • Row one arm up to your ribcage, pausing briefly at the top. Keep squeezing your and glutes hard to keep your posture strong and your hips square.
  • Return the weight to the floor, then repeat on the other side.

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